DIFFERENT APPROACH, SAME SCAMS
In recent years, there have been numerous reports of scammers targeting Persons Forced to Register using information extrapolated from the public sex offense registry. Up till now, scammers have been posing as registration officers. On Saturday, January 21, Tammy Lawson received a different type of phone call.
The person on the other line had identified himself as a worker for the US Census Bureau and claimed he had been by her house but she was not home. This person claimed he had stopped by to conduct a survey. He even described seeing a specific vehicle in her yard in order to convince her that he had stopped by. When she asked him with the survey about and it asked him a second time what business he worked for, this time the person identified himself as a worker for the US Department of Labor, and was doing research on the members of the household to know who worked and who collected disability. When asked if he had been to any other house in the neighborhood, that person replied that he had not and that people were being selected and complete random. Tammy noted the person not sound professional and said things that made her feel suspicious.
Suspicious, Tammy contacted me. She felt it was odd that he did not describe any other vehicle but one. I asked her if that particular vehicle have been reported to the registration office, and she replied yes. It became apparent to me that the person who made this phone call had put in an information request to the state of Virginia to collect registry information. While vehicle information is not publicly listed by the state of Virginia, vehicle information is indeed collected by the registration office.
When Tammy returned home that day, he could find no evidence that anybody had visited her residence.
I suspect that at the conversation continued, it would have led to an accusation of wrongdoing and a request to rectify that wrongdoing through gift cards, cryptocurrency, or by wiring money to the scammer. If that’s the case, it is merely a new way to use registry information to defraud Persons Forced to Register.
In this instance, the scammer sounded convincing because the scammer had access to registry information, including a description of the vehicle owned by the Registrant. Scammers can use public information and real estate websites to gather information about the property where the Registrant resides. The scammer use that information to try to convince Tammy that he had actually went by her property. But for all we know, the scammer lived halfway around the world.
If a person ever contacts you and claims to be a government agent, whether from the registration office or an agency like the US Census Bureau, asked the worker for his information. Tell that person you will call that agency on your own. Hang up the phone, and do an online search or the number of the agency in question. To ensure it is the most accurate information, get the phone number from the agency website, not from a Google search, because sometimes even Google can be manipulated. Contact that agency and let them know that you received a call from an individual claiming to be one of their agents.
If any government agent ever contacts you by phone or email (and sometimes even by mail) and claims you owe any kind of fee or fine, or claiming there is a warrant for your arrest, it IS a scam. Law enforcement agents will never tell you if there is a warrant out for your arrest. You cannot pay fines through gift cards or cryptocurrency, nor can you wire money to a government agent to pay for any debt owed to the government.
Most scammers know that we are a vulnerable population and that we are afraid of getting in any kind of trouble with the government. We want to comply with the law. Scammers play on that fear. And admittedly, when we are nervous, it may cause us to overlook signs that we are being scammed. There is no way to measure how successful these scams have been. The police do not care if we are scammed. Therefore, it is up to you to protect yourself.
(Thanks to Tammy who have me permission to share this.)
Derek W. Logue of OnceFallen.com
Registered Citizen/ Civil Rights Advocate